UX/UI design comes with its share of challenges. Even if you can build a mean wireframe, you’ll also have to troubleshoot your own designs, take on unexpected responsibilities, and gracefully accept critiques once you’re on the job.
It might feel overwhelming at first. So we’re breaking down the “do’s and don’ts” of UX design to guide you through the first steps of your career. Learn some of the best practices recommended by successful designers, and how to avoid the most common pitfalls of design.
1. Do start over when you have to.
There will be times when you’ll discover a problem with your current design that just can’t be fixed. You may even have to scrap your plan and start over from the beginning. It doesn’t mean you’re not a great designer: just bid farewell to any design features that aren’t serving the end-user, and start fresh.
Don’t assume your first solution was the right one.
Creatives can get pretty attached to their work (no shame there). But you’ll need to accept the fact that your first idea may not be the best idea.
2. Do look for ways to improve.
When you’re drafting a new layout, take a step back now and then to walk through the user-flow with a fresh eye. Try to imagine a customer’s perspective, and envision their potential frustrations or confusions.
Don’t avoid challenges.
At some point, you’ll be asked to take on a new responsibility that you’re not totally comfortable with. Whether the lead designer is out sick or a client requested a huge project with a quick turnaround, your time will come to step up. Accept the challenge as a learning opportunity. It’ll push you to step out of your comfort zone - something seasoned designers embrace.
3. Do develop an ideation process that works for you.
Your coworkers, boss, and UX course instructor might all have different processes for creating new designs. Once you try out a few of the industry best practices, feel free to make adjustments: create your own ideation process, using the tools that make sense to you.
Don’t stop changing your process.
That said, your process will almost certainly change over the years. You may work in different industries, or discover new UX tools as technology improves. Try to remain open to changing and improving your own methods.
4. Do accept criticism.
Whether you work as an in-house UX designer, a freelancer, or with an agency, you’re going to face criticism from colleagues or clients. Sometimes their critiques will be justified with hard data, but they may simply have a different aesthetic opinion. Hear them out - you’re all working toward the same goal.
Don’t be afraid to defend your ideas.
If you’re facing push-back but you’re confident that your design is the best option for the end-user, look for ways to support your decisions. Research case studies with similar products, or use a sample group to test-run your idea against others.
5. Do maintain a consistent user experience on every page.
While the layout may differ across pages, the overall aesthetic should feel continuous from page to page, and across devices.
Don’t overwhelm the user with a complicated design.
Great UX design may not look groundbreaking, but it will feel intuitive to the user. Don’t spend too much time trying to integrate fancy design features if they don’t serve the overall user experience.
6. Do continue to network and study the field.
Even after you land your ideal UX gig, stay involved with a community of designers, whether virtual or local. This is one of the best ways to find out about new tools, keep up with current tech trends, and even vent to a sympathetic ear when things go awry.
Don’t stop learning.
One of the most exciting aspects of a UX career is that it’s always changing. Technology, user expectations, even aesthetic preferences will evolve. Follow some leaders in the field on Twitter, sign up for a solid UX/UI design blog, and never stop asking questions.
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